Patterns of parenting behavior in young mothers

Leanne Whiteside-Mansell, Sandra K. Pope, Robert H. Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Children of young mothers are thought to be at risk for developmental delay and behavioral problems. In this study, the parenting behaviors of 193 White and African American mothers 15-24 years of age were assessed when their children were 12 and 36 months old. Cluster analysis of 3 dimensions of parenting was used to identify 5 types of parenting patterns. Evidence supporting these parenting clusters included interpretable mean scores; expected differences in children's cognitive and social development; and differences in familial, maternal, and child factors. The strongest discriminating factor-maternal IQ-was associated with more positive parenting behavior patterns. Among the mothers with the lowest IQ scores, the most discriminating factor was the birth of additional children. The results of this study support the assumption that parenting is dynamic and multidimensional.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-281
Number of pages9
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent parenting
  • Child development
  • Cluster analysis
  • Parent-child interaction
  • Young parenthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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